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Transparency and traceability in trading straws and embryos

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By Arnaud Evain

Advances in the knowledge of equine reproduction and the use of new techniques for assisted procreation – such as OPU and ICSI or in-vitro fertilization – have transformed the usage conditions of frozen semen and established a trade in frozen embryos.

We are currently in a period of transition in which straws co-exist with different statuses:
• Straws owned by the stallion owners, who have entrusted them to insemination centers to obtain pregnancies which will be invoiced to the breeders;
• Straws bought by breeders in order to obtain pregnancies for their own mares, hoping to save money thanks to the efficient use of these straws;
• Straws purchased by an insemination center to resell a pregnancy to a breeder, or by a reseller with a view to their subsequent resale.
• Straws ‘forgotten’ in the tanks of insemination centers for years and become the subject of fraudulent appropriation by ‘distracted’ or unseemly people and which end up on the market without payment to their legitimate owners.
A straw may thus have been purchased, transported, and resold several times before arriving in the hands of the person who intends to use it to obtain one or more pregnancies.
The risks incurred at the end of such a course are technical (a break in the cold chain), and commercial (straws whose ownership origins are doubtful).
Today, we find on social networks and on certain auction sites straws that may have been purchased in good faith by their resellers, but for which their travels and tank transfers are unknown. They are offered without any guarantee of quality and it is possible that they are of fraudulent origin.
Narcos II, Cassini, Heartbreaker, Untouchable 27 since his return to France, Corofino, and dozens of others find themselves on sales sites or on social networks when their semen has never been sold to anyone by their owners. They are therefore undoubtedly of fraudulent origin, even if their current owners have paid someone to acquire them.
Almost all of the straws sold ‘free for ICSI’ and which have been legally acquired from the owners of the stallions have never been the subject of an agreement from them for use in ICSI. Insofar as ICSI now makes it possible to obtain several dozen pregnancies from a single straw, the economic weight of these embezzlements is considerable and penalizes both the ‘stolen’ stallions and the vast majority of breeders who act in good faith... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber
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